The Basics of Global Warming
The most obvious thing that can be said about global warming is that the earth is getting warmer. Specifically, the temperatures near the surface of the earth and the temperatures in the ocean are rising. Since 1990, there have been 10 years that have been hotter than any others in recorded history.
The greenhouse effect is said to be responsible for global warming. The greenhouse effect causes certain vapors and gases to form a sort of blanket that covers and warms the earth. Water vapor, methane, carbon dioxide, and several other trace gases make up this blanket.
The greenhouse effect itself is not disputed. No controversy exists on this point because the greenhouse effect is recognized as an inherently beneficial process. If all the energy that struck the earth was reflected right back into space, no one could live on earth. This is what would happen without this blanket that is caused by acceptable levels of global warming.
However, global warming is not all good. It can cause the earth's covering to increase in density. With a denser blanket over the earth, less of the heat is reflected back into space. This upsets the delicate balance between heat and cold that is usually maintained on earth. It traps more heat inside the earth's atmosphere.
Although there are people who argue against it, there seems to be a change in the climate in recent years. Climate change to a warmer climate is the result of excessive global warming.
There has been an overall rise in temperature of a little over one degree Fahrenheit during the last century. The figure for this century is expected to be more like seven degrees. It is this type of global warming that can lead to dire consequences if left unchecked.
People, their activities, and their industries have caused global warming to reach the levels it has today. Burning fossil fuels, powering electrical plants with coal, and irresponsible land use can all contribute to global warming. Carbon dioxide is produced by these activities, and global warming is perpetuated.
Global warming could result in rising sea levels and flooding. There could be more powerful storms. Heat waves could become intense. Droughts could severely damage the world's crops and cause shortages of drinkable water. Extinction of species could become a problem because of changing habitats and the suitability of the climate for the animal.
The good news about global warming is that there are ways to slow the process down. Each person can take responsibility for doing their part in protecting the earth's environment. With everyone helping, emissions of greenhouse gases can be cut drastically. This will give the earth a chance to begin to regain its balance of temperature. Knowing about global warming can make you a better citizen of the world.
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